Cats: Not Just For Target Practice Anymore
Fake News written by on Friday, May 26, 2000
VANDUSER, MO -- A local animal control officer was stunned this weekend to learn that cats can be used for something besides target practice.
Wilbur Ripley, a 24 year old resident of the tiny Scott County town of Vanduser (estimated 1998 population: 228) had been using stray cats for target practice since the tender young age of eight. When hired as the Animal Control Officer in town, he apparently took the concept to the next level by carrying out a personal Holocaust on the stray cats of the area.
He claims he just didn't know any better.
"I must have blown the living shit out of about ten thousand kitty-cats in my life before someone told me they can be good pets," Ripley said from his jail cell in Benton, where he is currently being held for six dozen counts of cruelty to animals dating back to 1993. "My grandpa shot cats, my daddy shot cats, and I massacred untold thousands of our little feline friends before anyone told me it was wrong. When I took the job as the animal control officer, I just kept doing what I was always doing."
Ripley's biggest mistake, apparently, was getting caught.
Residents of Vanduser called the Sheriff's Department early Friday morning complaining about Ripley's AK-47 assault rifle making too much noise. When the police arrived on the scene, Ripley was caught red-handed with 1,000 rounds of spent shell casings laying on the ground and a pile of at least ten deceased cats that witnesses described as "heavily perforated".
Ripley had been hired as the town's Animal Control Officer in August of 1999. Local residents seemed surprised to learn that his method of "controlling" the cat population included liberal use of automatic weapons.
"I was brought up to believe that the only good cat was a dead cat," said Scott County Sheriff Richard "Stumpy" Thompson. "When I was a kid, I shot at cats, ran `em over with my truck, fed 'em to Doberman Pinschers, drowned 'em, electrocuted 'em, backed up and ran over 'em again, you name it. I feel sorry for this Ripley fella, I really do. But the state told me to crack down on this, so I didn't have a choice."
The Missouri Department of Animal Control has seen similar problems in Vanduser in the past.
In the early 1970's, it was the only town in Missouri to have an official "Cat Season" for hunters.
In late 1987, the Vanduser Humane Society was shut down and the board of directors fined $1,000 for unethical treatment of animals. The state Attorney General's accused the shelter of running a "Pay Ten Dollars, Kill-All-The-Cats-You-Want" promotion to the general public on weekends. The board defended itself by saying it was "trying to cut down on it's euthanasia costs and provide valuable public entertainment".
"It's not like we're killing dogs or anything," one board member was quoted.
Wilbur Ripley's arrest is apparently unrelated to the 1987 Humane Society scandal. He now claims to have "found God" and expresses remorse for the actions of his youth.
"When I'm released, I'm going to get myself a little pussycat for a pet. They're so cute," Ripley said. "They're the perfect pet, I just didn't know it. They purr, they clean themselves, and they poop inside. Who'd have thought they could be pets? What else can a guy ask for?"
Ripley also added, "But if that little kitty gets out of line and scratches up my furniture, don't think for a second I'm gonna put up with it. He'll get de-clawed with a .22 rifle, and ain't no one gonna stop me."
Jury selection begins next week, and the public defender's office is optimistic about the odds of getting a sympathetic pool of cat-haters to free Mr. Ripley. Bond has been set at $25 and a moon pie.